2019 Volume 105 Issue 1 Pages 30-37
A novel and efficient simulation technique for the purpose of optimization of vacuum-carburizing process was proposed. This method consists of three steps: calculation of gas convection and diffusion, calculation of only gas diffusion, and calculation of carbon diffusion in steel. The first step provides the gas convection velocity that is employed in the second step. Adsorption rate of carbon on the steel surface is obtained in the second step, and carbon concentration in the steel is calculated in the third step based on the adsorption rate of carbon. Experiments were conducted to verify the proposed method in both laboratory- and industrial-scale reactors. Comparison of the computational predictions to the experimental data revealed that the proposed technique enabled accurate prediction of the adsorption rate of carbon on the steel surface at various temperature conditions, the amount of carburized carbon at each operating time, and the profile of carbon concentration in the steel; in other words, the carburized depth. In addition, the calculation of the industrial-scale reactor, whose simulation model consisted of approximately seven million computational meshes, was completed within about two days. Therefore, the proposed simulation technique could be used to control and optimize the process in industrial vacuum-carburizing reactors.